Phuket City Police Chief Col Sompong Thiparpakul confirmed to the press yesterday (Mar 8) that the man charged for the incident was Phichit Pimhom, 57, from Roi-Et.
The charge followed a formal complaint filed with police by Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol.
“The charge of sexual assault applies not only to women, but to men and other genders as well,” Col Sompong said.
“If such a crime happens, we will enforce this law immediately,” he added.
Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol explained at a press conference yesterday that the alarm was raised by the patient assaulted, publicly identified so far only as “Pleng”, who posted a video of the incident on the Facebook account “Pa Pleng Smile”.
“Pleng is transgender,” explained Dr Chalermpong.
“Pleng was admitted at Phuket Vachira Hopital on Mar 4 for breathing difficulties and fatigue. We found that Pleng had a respiratory infection. Pleng had previously suffered the same condition and had come to hospital for medical treatment before,” he explained
The assault occurred at 10pm on Tuesday (Mar 5), Dr Chalermpong noted.
“Mr Phichit was watching over a patient who is recovering in the bed beside Pleng at the request of that patient’s relatives,” he said.
The video posted online showed Phichit approaching Pleng and arranging the sheet covering Pleng in a caring manner. However, it soon became apparent that Phichit had one hand under the sheet and was fondling Pleng’s breasts.
Pleng shouted for the man stop, but Phichit ignored her pleas.
“After nurses became aware of the incident, they told Mr Phichit to stop and removed him from the room to question him. He admitted to his actions. Then Mr Phichit apologised to the people who paid him to look after other patient,” Dr Chalermpong said.
“We filed a complaint for Phuket City Police to charge him, and he has now been banned from entering the recovery wings at the hospital,” Dr Chalermpong confirmed.
“There are only two nurses and two nurse assistants in the male medical building. We don’t have enough staff, which is why the hospital allows for patients’ relatives to stay overnight,” Dr Chalermpong said.
“Hospital staff have been instructed to pay more attention to patients and staff will now hold the ID cards of all relatives staying overnight in the hospital,” he added.